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How to hire a graphic designer?

I am a recent software engineer graduate and am interested in building a web service app for portfolio reasons. I would require a graphic designer to successfully build this web service, however I do not have a budget. Is there any good website where I can find a web designer that may be interested in enhancing their portfolio by building an app together with a web developer?


  • Do you know approximately how much work you need done? – Hanna Apr 1 '12 at 22:25

Realize that any decent web designer gets asked constantly to build or design something "for their portfolio" or "for experience". This is a huge, waving, flapping, red flag to designers. Or a neon sign which simply blinks "WORK FOR FREE."

Any designer worth their weight, doesn't need your project for a portfolio piece or experience. Generally because a good designer already has a strong portfolio or is perfectly capable of creating portfolio sites without completing your work for free.

If you are interested in a partnership, then you need to approach the offer as a partner offer. You need to treat any designer as though they are an investor in your idea because, well, that's what they are. You need an elevator pitch, a business plan, what value added items the designer will acquire from the work, etc.

No-Spec.com has a few article warning designers as to why work such as this is just a bad idea. If your needs fall within those parameters, you may have a very hard time finding anyone.

Your best bet is to find other recent or soon to be graduates from your school.


Most designers aren't going to do work for free just to "improve their portfolio". To attract anyone good, you'll probably have to offer more, like some equity share in the final product.

  • agreed. I wouldnt just ask a designer to work for free as such, but instead to join me in working to make a product and share equity. However, most of the freelance website I have stumbled upon ask for cash. Where can I find web designers that my be interested in equity share in the final product? – Newton Apr 1 '12 at 22:15
  • It's tricky because designer's are in short supply these days. If you do a google search for 'find a designer cofounder' you'll find some good places to start. – Ethan Apr 2 '12 at 6:52

You are asking: "Where can I find people willing to work for free?"

I'd answer that with the statement: "You usually get what you pay for."

If you are sincere about starting a business, maybe finding some capital and trying to find an equal partner, I'd suggest local networking to be your best bet. But finding random people on the internet willing to just work on an idea for hypothetical equity is going to be a tough one.

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